Chipotle White Bean and Kale

Being healthy doesn't mean breaking the bank. It's so frustrating when you find a recipe that makes you jump up and down with excitement until you read the ingredient list. That's when the hamster that is your brain goes flying off the wheel. For example... there's this one cookie that I so desperately want to make... but it involves small amounts of brown rice flour, amaranth flour, and tapicoa starch. Small amounts, not enough to warrant buying entire bags. 

I almost gave up on this recipe in the middle of the grocery store. Mike and I were running up and down aisles looking for canned chipotle peppers. It just wasn't happening. There was no fresco cheese to be found in the cheese section either. Instead of dropping the idea, we made some modifications and it turned out awesome. It wasn't spicy but had a bit of smokiness. Adding toasted panko on top gave a nice crunch! Healthy, filling, and flavorful.

Chipotle White Bean and Kale
Modified from 101 Cookbooks

1 15 ounce can large white beans (any white bean will work), rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 big pinches of red pepper flakes
2 pinches of salt
3 large clove garlic, chopped
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 tablespoon chipotle chili pepper powder
1/2 cup broccoli tops (optional)
2 stalks of asparagus, cleaned and choped into bite sized pieces (optional)
2/3 cup kale, washed, de-stemmed, and very finely chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 cup panko, toasted in a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil (for a crunch)

If you're using asparagus, toss lightly in olive oil and place in small baking sheet. Set oven to broil. Cook for 7 minutes, just to soften. Set aside to cool.

Place the 2 tablespoons olive oil, red pepper flakes, couple pinches of salt, and chopped garlic into a medium saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute about a minute or until fragrant - don't let the garlic brown. Stir in the tomatoes and the Italian seasoning. Bring to gentle simmer, this takes just a couple minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the chipotle chili powder.  Season to taste.

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees. In a 9x13 baking pan (or large oven-proof casserole/dutch oven) toss the beans with the tomato sauce, kale, and optional veggies. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake in the top-third of the oven for about 25 minutes or until cheese starts browning. Remove from oven and let sit for about ten minutes. Top the beans with the toasted panko for some crunch.